Target Corp. (TGT)

By Alleen Brown

Fortune 500 rank: 31

Founder: George Dayton

CEO: Gregg Steinhafel

1000 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55403

What it does:
Target is a discount retailer. They pride themselves on being a little more upscale than competitors and on being able to lure you in with groceries and shampoo and send you home with a new lamp, a smoothie maker and socks.
The company also seems to be shooting for the title of official sponsor of Minneapolis. Target’s name is attached to:
The Target Center
The soon-to-be Target Twins Stadium
The Target fireworks (Organizers even give out “3-D” glasses that make the fireworks look like Target signs)
And, as of this year, the Target Holidazzle Parade

Stores: More than 1,500 in 48 states

Total Employees: 366,000

Minnesota Employees: Around 29,000

Revenue: $59.4 billion

Net Income: $2.7 billion

3 Months
1 Year
5 Years

S & P Data from October 2008. Chart by Denise Rath.

Target’s branding of Minneapolis is not a new phenomenon. George Dayton, founder of Target, helped shape the city. Laura Riley’s book “On Target: How the World’s Largest Retailer Hit a Bull’s Eye,” said that when Dayton bought Goodfellows department store in 1902 and reopened it on Nicollet Avenue and Seventh Street, the area was not the center of the city. Some doubted that it would succeed since it was so far out of town.

Dayton was not a merchant, he was an investor, and he originally planned to develop the Nicollet Avenue property into a hotel. Fortunately for discount shoppers everywhere, Chicago developers dropped out of the deal when they found out Minneapolis laws would prevent them from selling liquor.

In 1903, Dayton bought out his partners and renamed the store Dayton’s Dry Goods Company. Within a decade, Nicollet Avenue was a busy place, with Dayton’s near the center.

In 1956, the Dayton Company hired Austrian architect Victor Gruen to construct Southdale Mall in Edina. It would be the world’s first enclosed shopping mall. Outdoor shopping centers existed, but this one was entirely indoors as a defense against Minnesota winters. According to Riley’s book, Donald Dayton was key in convincing their competitor, Donaldson’s, to locate on the opposite side of the mall, pioneering the idea of anchor stores.

In 1962, the Dayton Company opened its first Target in Roseville, Minnesota. By the end of the decade, Target stores were open in Colorado, Missouri and Texas. Riley’s book said their headquarters stayed in downtown Minneapolis, instead of moving to cheaper suburban property, so buyers could see what stylish urban residents were wearing. In 1969, The Dayton Company and the J.L. Hudson Company merged to form the Dayton-Hudson Company.

In 2000, the Dayton-Hudson Corporation became the Target Corporation. Besides Target, it owned Mervyn’s and Marshall Field’s, which were sold in 2004. In 2005, Target opened operations in Bangalore, India. Currently, all business operations run from India.

Alleen Brown is a senior journalism and global studies student at the University of Minnesota.

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